On December 28, 30 wallets associated with Alameda Research, the now-defunct sister hedge fund of collapsed crypto exchange FTX awoke from a month-long slumber.
According to a variety of different blockchain sleuths, these wallets proceeded to swap, mix and transfer a little more than US$1.7 million worth of cryptocurrency through a host of different crypto mixers.
Crypto ‘mixers’ are tools used most frequently by hackers and criminals to obscure transaction data on the blockchain so that the movement of crypto assets can’t be traced. The most famous crypto mixing service is Tornado Cash, however recent sanctions from the US Treasury Department have rendered its use by citizens from the United States illegal.
How did Alameda Research mix their funds?
Crypto intelligence firm Arkham shares the intricate details of how the wallets sent approximately US$1.7 million worth of crypto assets to different mixing services in a series of highly-suspicious and well-planned moves.
According to Arkham the the majority of the funds were sent from two main wallets, and transferred into a mixture of Ethereum’s native token, Ether (ETH) and US Dollar-pegged stablecoin, Tether (USDT).
The tokens were transferred from these wallets to another two wallets. The first of these wallets intricately splits up the ETH and sends it on to a series of even smaller smaller wallets, typically in clumps ranging from US$200,000 to US$50,000. From there, the funds were again transferred, except this time they went to mixing and swapping services like ChangeNOW, Fixedfloat and Airswap.
Breaking down Alameda’s total haul
Overall, a total of US$1.7 million worth of cash money was transferred through a variety of different mixing protocols.
- 270.5 ETH transferred via ChangeNOW (roughly US$325k at the time of writing)
- 800,000 USDT via Fixedfloat
- 200,000 USDT via Curve SynthSwap
- 200,000 USDT via Airswap
- 200,000 USDT through other crypto-mixing services
The bizarre and meticulous transfers became the talk of Crypto Twitter as commentators rushed in to theorise about who was behind the movement of funds.
While some commentators claimed that this was simply the authorities coming in to liquidate Alameda’s crypto, the painstaking detail that went into the separation of transfers combined with the use of mixing tools really suggests that this was orchestrated by someone who did not want to be found.